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Center for Interfaith Engagement



Tim SeidelTimothy Seidel 
Timothy Seidel teaches courses on politics, development, and peacebuilding in the Department of Applied Social Sciences and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. He also serves as director for the Center for Interfaith Engagement (CIE), a center that promotes collaboration among scholars and practitioners to promote a more just and peaceful world through interreligious and intercultural understanding. Seidel has worked in various development and peacebuilding contexts in North America and the Middle East, including serving for several years with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), first as peace development worker in Palestine-Israel and then as director for Peace and Justice Ministries in the U.S. Seidel previously taught at American University and Lancaster Theological Seminary. He holds a PhD from the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC.

Trina NussbaumTrina Trotter Nussbaum 
Associate Director (540) 432-4674
As a faith-rooted and reflective peacebuilder, Trina works at building the spaces and facilitating the connections that enable authentic engagement across difference. 
Trina has an M.A. in Conflict Transformation from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) at EMU and is also pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship. In 2017 she conducted original research and defended a thesis entitled: “Self-Care May Not Be Enough: Secondary Traumatic Stress and Organizations: A Multiple Methods Study.” Trina also holds a B.A. in Theater and Psychology, with a minor in Justice, Peace and Conflict Studies from EMU.

Along with her work at CIE which involves strategic relationship- and network-building while confronting Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, her other research and practice areas of interest are: organizational change and development, working for narrative change and trauma healing using speculative fiction and storytelling, and transforming conflicts through appreciative inquiry processes.

She is also committed to working for racial justice, and is working at authentic self-reflection around whiteness and privilege. She also sees the racialization of U.S. Muslims, (which is one factor of Islamophobia) as another sector of white supremacy that must be confronted.

Trina’s previous work experience includes a wide variety of nonprofits and government agencies, and was the interim director of CIE from July 2016 to August 2017.

Rebekah “Bex” Simmerman, Research AssistantRebekah “Bex” Simmerman
Research Assistant (540) 432-4287
Bex’s interest in interfaith reconciliation is rooted in a strong desire to help people understand one another better. Bex grew up in United Methodist church parsonages scattered across east Tennessee and southwestern Virginia. After university, Bex lived in north Sudan for nearly six years, and had the amazing opportunity to study Arabic, live with a Muslim family, and work with a NGO in North Darfur. The experiences of living in very different religious and cultural worlds, shaped her worldview and desire to bridge divides in society. She has a B.A. from Asbury University, and completed a M.A. at EMU’s Center for Justice & Peacebuilding in 2016. Bex is part of a Sudani church congregation in Harrisonburg, and lives with one hedgehog, two cats, and three housemates.

Ed MartinEd Martin 
Interfaith Specialist 
Ed was director of CIE from 2010 to 2016. In his retirement he is still advocating for Shia/Mennonite connections and for interfaith concerns in the Lancaster PA area. Prior to being director of CIE, Ed served with American Friends Service Committee as the Quaker International Affairs Representative for Iran, building connections between Iranian institutions and the United States, and providing resources for public education and advocacy regarding Iran in United States. Prior to that appointment Ed worked for 18 years with Mennonite Central Committee as director of programs for Central and Southern Asia, as well as the Middle East. Earlier, Ed worked at the International Irrigation Management Institute in Sri Lanka. He has a bachelor’s in engineering from Stanford University, and a master’s of public administration and PhD in agricultural economics from Cornell University.